Someone recently told me they refuse to purchase an iPhone because they read that the iPhone uses more power than a refrigerator. So, they were determined to purchase another brand of smart phone.
Skeptical, I did a Google search and was surprised to find this article in Forbes: “Your iPhone Uses More Energy Than Your Refrigerator.”
It’s in print… Well, it must be true!
The many people who can no longer read more than the 140-character limit of Twitter, will not get beyond the sound-byte title of that Forbes article, and they certainly won’t read the 45-page report the article is based on. The report describes the energy required to maintain the global Internet infrastructure. (PDF)
Only upon further investigation does one discover that the claim about an iPhone using as much energy as a refrigerator is really a misrepresentation. The statement is a reference to the energy required to maintain the Internet infrastructure that any mobile device depends on.
“Your iPhone, or more exactly your smartphone, uses more electricity than a refrigerator does. Do note though that it’s not actually the phone that does this: it’s the entire infrastructure that supplies it with the ability to be smart that does. All those data centres, running the WiFi and mobile networks and so on. In fact, the claim is that IT now uses 10% of the world’s electricity.” (Source: Forbes)
If the writer of the article knows that it’s misleading to portray the iPhone as an excessive drain on energy, then why choose a misleading title? Why not state, “Your smart phone (or mobile device) uses as much energy as your refrigerator.” In fact, many devices plugs into the Internet and depend on that global infrastructure: printers, thermostats, scales, and even some refrigerators.